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Obama: When you're the president, everyone takes your calls

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a Medal of Honor ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, October 15, 2013. REU
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a Medal of Honor ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, October 15, 2013. REU

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The coolest thing about being the leader of the free world? Everyone will take your call, said President Barack Obama in a television interview on Tuesday.

Obama did another round of interviews with local television anchors to talk about the threat of a Thursday deadline to raise the debt limit, and the impact of a 15-day government shutdown.

But Diana Williams of New York's WABC television said her teenaged daughter wanted her to ask Obama whether the coolest thing about being president was being friends with entertainment power couple Beyonce and Jay-Z.

"That is a view shared by Malia and Sasha," Obama chuckled, referring to his two daughters.

Beyonce and Jay-Z raised money for Obama during his campaign, and Beyonce performed the national anthem at his 2013 inauguration.

"For me, I think the coolest thing is that if there is somebody interesting who's doing anything - a scientist, a sports figure, a writer, anybody in the world - if I want to call them up ... they will answer my phone call. That's a pretty cool thing," Obama said.

During the past several months, Obama has welcomed to the White House a host of "cool" people, including the Baltimore Ravens, the current National Football League champions, "Star Wars" creator George Lucas, singer-songwriter Carole King, and author Joan Didion.

On Friday, he and first lady Michelle Obama met with Pakistani teenage activist Malala Yousafzai in the Oval Office - a private meeting that daughter Malia also joined.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Steve Holland; Editing by Paul Simao)

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